Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Colin Maillard

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Total Reviews: 1254

1804 George Sand by Histoires de Parfums

Bergamot, vanilla, green notes, a fruity heart and white musks... and something else, which smells weird and terribly synthetic-generic from the very beginning. My first thought was: cheap summer scent. The base is a bit odd as well, it has a strange, rubbery, dry note with reminds me of the infamous safraleine that often "replaces" or amplifies leather notes... which however there are not, so this may be a trick of my nose, I believe that is the patchouli. Honestly I did not even feel the fruity notes at the beginning but they eventually come clearer after a while, and not to sound repetitive, they smell terribly plastic as well. I trust it's pineapple but it may as well be anything else. I won't say this is bad, in fact it is pleasant and even slightly evocative of (postcard) summer vibes... but it strongly reminds me a buckload of other cheaper and "mainstream" sporty colognes.

5/10
04th May, 2014

Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Honest, linear, mild and discreet patchouli, with a substantial earthy-dusty sweet side (cocoa beans like), a mellow sandalwood base and a subtle but refreshing herbal/floral breeze, really pleasant and unique. A month came to my mind: September. It has that same quiet, smoky and malinconic suspended understatement that characterises that month - summer is over, autumn is not there yet, we kind of wait for something to happen, days shorten, the weather is warm and pale... oh, well. It eventually evolves moving on a more balsamic/herbaceous territory, always quite soft, round, restrained and docile – L'Artisan signature lightness, in short. It is undoubtably well composed, as you feel all the notes clearly and they smell great: it is a light and lively patchouli with a peculiar base carefreeness and brightness which make it stand apart. Carefree but also evocative and meditative. Despite I personally prefer other patchouli scents which amplify and shape better its raw earthiness – notably, for example, Patchouli Nobile by Nobile 1942 – I must admit this take by L'Artisan is really pleasant, a bit shy and delicate but elegant, balanced, smart and worth a try (even a blind buy in case of bargains!). Quite close to skin but also quite persistent.

7,5/10
03rd May, 2014

1826 Eugénie de Montijo by Histoires de Parfums

The opening is quite much different depending on whether you test it on paper or on skin. I usually don't use paper strips, this time I did it just for curiosity and once I tried this I was like "I love this!"... well lucky for me I also tested it on skin before both writing a review and deciding if it was purchase worthy (spoiler: it wasn't). Basically it opens with a peculiar and bold accord of violet-lilac, mellow white musks and a patchouli note which is so velvety, dusty and sweet that together with ginger and cinnamon it basically creates a sort of "choco-like" accord with a resinous/spicy feel. And that is precisely what I do not like here much – it is kind of "too much" unbalanced a bit overhelming, shouting over the rest of the notes, notably the floral notes. On paper this smelled just perfect and far more balanced – it was heavenly. It is silky, soft, almost milky and quite elegant, with a slight earthy-herbal-balsamic accord... but also much sweet and all over. Besides, the drydown evolves towards a rather generic, vaguely ambery/woody aromatic, kind of ambrox smell, not that natural either. So it's kind "too much" at the beginning and "too little" at the end. Perhaps I was unlucky with my skin, but I find this a bit wrong at a couple of stages. Nonetheless, if you like that type of accords and/or this works differently on your skin, than it may turn into a great scent as it initially was on paper for me – I'll just say: not for a blind-buy (and I'm kind of a blind-buy guy often), better try it and wear it before.

6/10
03rd May, 2014
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1889 Moulin Rouge by Histoires de Parfums

Powerful, powdery iris, at least another pair of fresh, crunchy floral notes I do not get clearly (gardenia, geranium...?), a rose heart, green aromatic notes, ginger and pepper, and patchouli. Lively and sensual with just a hint of decadence: quite a good depiction of a Moulin Rouge dancer, somehow innocent and somehow naughty, young and pale but "experienced". The powerful and bold opening tones down quite early, it gets graceful and pleasant although not that unique – basically a spicy floral with a balsamic breeze and a nice interplay between silky flowers and earthy patchouli, with just a bit of spices and musks. Overall refined and cozy, pleasant and elegant, but not much memorable and also, sadly, a bit short-lasting.

6,5/10
03rd May, 2014

Olympia Music Hall by Histoires de Parfums

The opening is beautiful and bright: luminous, floral, elegant, fresh and romantic, with a hint of a classic "aldehydated" feel and talcum on the base. The evolution is equally great, the lilac note, the fruity accord, the suede-incense shady accord and the subtle but bold patchouli-woods base slowly emerge and take shape, each in its own subtle and balanced way, all in a musky-cocoa beans soft and discreet roundness. All remains however graceful and transparent, it's like "seeing" these notes floating beyond a frosted glass. It eventually becomes a bit more spicy, losing just a bit of light and brightness. I particularly like the subtle earthy note: if all this may make you think of a shy, pale and refined young countess, this shady earthy note is her little, nocturnal naughty secret. The drydown is great as well, the suede note turns eventually into a slight rubbery/dry feel, which however works great in keeping alive this slight "gloomy secret side" of the scent. Also an unexpected green/balsamic/calonic light breeze comes and goes. My personal rating for this scent is favorable, but I agree with what diamondframe wrote below – this kind of spacious and breezy "aeriality" would maybe work better for a room than on skin, hence my "not-that-enthusiastic" final rating.

7,5-8/10
03rd May, 2014

Chia by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

A pleasant gourmand scent comprising vanilla and almond with tasty and dense floral notes on an ambery/musky base. A particularly nice, distinguished and "organic" gourmand, nor cloying neither amplified or sickening; sweet but balanced, silky, dusty, so in a word, "simple". The almond note in particular is good: I don't like almonds (I mean real ones too), but here at least it's not that usual heavy/resinous "accord of" almond many scents have, rather a single, real, almost slightly roasted almond – which works fine and discreetly. There is something dissonant, a bitter note which I don't get precisely, that somehow tones down and restrains an otherwise "total" sweetness – and I like that too. As minutes pass it slowly blossoms and opens up in a real nice and lively floral scent, while the initial bold sweet notes gently "settle" down on the base. Everything's simple, bright, relaxed, really elegant and refined while keeping it delicate. Not my cup of tea, personally, and a bit... apparently dull, perhaps, or to say it better, "shy" or pale; but it has its own and peculiar not-that-common refined simplicity which makes it worth a try.

7,5/10
03rd May, 2014

Trayee by Neela Vermeire

Delicate, natural ambery-vanilla base surrounding a beautiful dense accord of jasmin, fruity notes, ginger and resins, all perfectly balanced, sparkling and colourful like a pavé diamond. Fresh herbal-earthy base notes of patchouli and basil, with just a tight but rich heart of darker notes (oud). Rich and textured but not cloying, in fact it's all lively and graceful. It eventually get more dense and vibrant as minutes pass, also more resinous and spicy, reaching a splendid peak of savoury richness with a bold balsamic feel. A really evocative, aerial, vivid, romantic and "pictorial" scent, although not that distinctive - more "really good" than "great". It is complex, in a perfect Duchaufour style, but still you can easily "see" each note and accord on its own. The projection is a bit more closer to skin than you may think, and the drydown is long-lasting, mostly comprising a cozy and warm resinous-balsamic accord – which eventually gets a bit medicinal. To be really honest the drydown is a bit disappointing, as this final accord you get is a bit generic and weak – especially if comparing with the greatness of the initial stages. Strangely I feel the oud is very light here (which is a "pro" to me!).

7,5-8/10
02nd May, 2014 (last edited: 04th May, 2014)

Carbone / Carbone de Balmain by Pierre Balmain

Another really nice cheapo wort having. Kind of ambery and musky at first, with a heart of cedar, pepper and vetiver(ol) and just a hint of floral dark gracefulness. The general vibe is "trendy" yet also meditative, shady and "pencil sharpener" as other users correctly say - that is the prominent heart of this scent. Some waxy feel too. The fig, I don't get that much honestly: but perhaps it is what causes the slight "lactonic", sweetish creamy note I detect underneath the general woodiness, which blends perfectly with it. Overall much synthetic and "modern", so absolutely safe and elegant for anyone, but also quite distinctive in a way as it's darker and more peculiar than other "safe mainstream scents". I can't say I don't like this, as I find it the perfect example of a solid, unpretentious but quality scent: it does smell good... really good actually (my guilty pleasure: I quite like that "pencil" feel), it feels classy and versatile, it costs pennies. Basically no evolution, bold projection and really good persistence. Encre Noire fans or of other contemporary/dark/synthetic woody scents - from Gucci pour Homme I on, basically - will love this. Separated at birth from Montana Graphite.

7/10
01st May, 2014 (last edited: 06th February, 2015)

Les Nombres d'Or : Cuir by Mona di Orio

Don't know if this was due to luck or skills (unexplicably unexpressed in most of her other scents, then...), but finally, here Mona di Orio wins. This in fact, is a totally intriguing and probably really great scent – even greater than I think, as it is much complex and "vast". Basically, to give you a bold figure naming two rather known scents that just came to my mind while testing Cuir, I would place this exactly halfway between Knize Ten and Parfum d'Empire's Eau de Gloire, as it blends some distinctive elements from both – of course, adding much else of its own. Roughly said, it blends the hieratic, monolithic dusty leather personality of Knize, with a really well-executed balsamic/anisic/earthy accord which is the signature of Eau de Gloire. Spicy, dry, bitter, almost roasted leather, pepper, juniper, tobacco, an amber/vanilla/resinous accord, an oakmoss/patchouli-like accord, and a sharp and clear anisic/liquorice note, which apparently is not in the composition but I still smell it clearly (don't know what it may be due to). The base notes are beautiful, dark and dusty. So multi-faceted it is almost confused, but it just stops a step before collapsing, and magically manages to keep this complex texture together. As minutes pass that anisic/earthy/mossy accord emerges even clearer, together with that splendid roasted leather and tobacco accord with a castoreum heart. Basically a modern shady fougère with just a hint of a fresh balsamic breeze. Quite complex but wearable and beautiful. Not much powerful, but the persistence is good to me. The only con: that "roasted leather feel" may get a bit annoying after a while (and also... better wear it at least 20 minutes before going out).

8/10
01st May, 2014 (last edited: 19th May, 2014)

Vetiver by Lorenzo Villoresi

The opening is just great: a powerful, invigorating, super-classic vetiver, harsh and savage, with a bold and earthy patchouli-oakmoss accord (I also feel some cocoa beans dusty sweetness), some delicate floral notes (lavender, neroli) which shape and restrain the rawness of the green/woody notes, and a refreshing accord of bergamot and citrus which then sweetens progressively. Straightforward, earthy and dense: a beauty. After a while you also feel some spicy/peppery notes, and the oak moss note emerges more clearly in all its barn-like splendor, together with a really pleasant salty note. But then, all of a sudden, here comes the downpart: it all sags down a bit. Too soon. It still remains great, pleasant, natural, vibrant, with a superb balance of components; but still, all just "tones down" far before you expected – and wanted, since as I said, it smells gorgeous, so you wouldn't really want it to wash away so quickly. This is the only "con"; apart from this I really like this scent. A pleasant, vibrant, elegant and persistent "eau de cologne" which deserves its place in the "classic heritage" side of vetiver fragrances.

8/10
01st May, 2014 (last edited: 03rd May, 2014)

Arabico by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

Dark woods, cedar, vetiver (not listed, but I smell it), a floral/lavender "feel", something dense and animalic at the very deep heart of the scent which may just be due to woods, a lively citrus note. Splendid incense aroma all over, with a patchouli note that emerges slowly. Absolutely great and refined cologne: rich, aromatic, cozy, beautiful, with a noble and discreet personality and an Italian twist – our infamous ability to flawlessy be noble and lively, elegant and relaxed at the same time. A salty note eventually comes over. Decent projection and unexpectedly long persistence. The only "con" is that the drydown kind of "loses" itself in a generic mainstream "good scent" territory – which is probably a side-effect of some base aromachem (won't blind guess them, but it's some of that soft, mellow, clean, aromatic woody note like Iso E or Ambrox DL). Which still smells great, but just a bit more "generic", so again, super nice overall.

7,5/10
01st May, 2014

Cara by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

Beautiful opening of dense and natural vanilla, really simple and genuine, with a light and lively floral heart (which globally gets this close to galaxolide, but still more vibrant and cute, less sweet and above all, less synthetic). Bright green feel, which then becomes more crunchy and pungent before gently fading away. Even a slight medicinal/alcoholic feel. Soft and mellow, and again really delicate, basenotes comprising white musks and amber. Then, a really nice salty (not iodine) note emerges, and the scent slowly turns into some more natural version of Odeur 53: a delicate and really pleasant smell of "clean skin", with kind of a beach vibe – again, not in the "iodine" meaning, more the smell your skin gets while you're under the sun, that salty but "scented" feel (as you've probably put on some tanning cream hours before). Really light, simple and dry. Must say I am usually not a fan of this type of scents, but this is really nice and well made, it is really minimal, pale, graceful and delicate, with an unpredictable evolution and an overall good quality of both materials and composition, as far as I can smell. Also, projection and sillage are more solid than you may think – it's delicate, but it's there and you feel it. Pretty and refined!

7,5/10
01st May, 2014

Eau de Mandarine Ambrée by Hermès

Well, I won’t hide it – I am a big fan of Ellena, and quite a fan of this extremely solid line of green-fresh “eaux” by Hermès. Sure, they’re quite short-lasting and ephemeral to say the least, quite discreet and not the best booty call radar for your hot nights downtown : but within the concept and considering the expectations one may reasonably have, that is to say “for being fresh toilet waters”, they are just perfect. They deliver exactly what their names suggest, with the most effortless, understated, solid class and accuracy. Eau de Mandarine Ambrée is nothing less and nothing more than a delightful sleek glass bottle filled with a distinguished infusion of water scented with, well, orange and amber. More orange than amber, actually; the “ambrée” feature seems to me here almost more a metaphorical reference to a shade of golden warmth giving some “substance” to the prominent – and actually, main and nearly only – accord of orange and citrus. I get no specific accords of amber, rather just a sort of ambery shade, a very subtle touch of that. Something slightly resinous, maybe, but not a proper amber accord for me. Think of a glass of lukewarm orange-scented water, with its golden-orange nuances flaming and reflecting the light, there’s the “amber” feature of this. More an aesthetical reference, so to speak. However it’s surely more all about orange for me – a refined still-life portrait of an orange, Hermès style; don’t expect a splash of invigorating, zesty, juicy orange pulp, this is rather the smell of a mid-afternoon tea room on the French coast with some orange leaves and peels lazily lingering on the table, waiting for someone to pick them up and clear the table. Think of Hermès’ own trademark orange colour, this is quite its olfactory depiction. Sophisticated, mannered, almost snobbish, kind of melancholic and definitely French. And what amazes me, as for other “eaux” of this line, is how Ellena managed to make this smell restrained, civilized, modern and almost “abstract” in its universally-appealing, prototypical cleanliness, and yet extremely natural and realistic. Sometimes he seems the only living perfumer which is able to accomplish such an effortless blend of elegance and naturalness. Long live Ellena!

8/10
30th April, 2014 (last edited: 27th February, 2016)
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Knize Ten by Knize

Quintessential leather fragrance with a Mitteleuropean twist, with both medicinal and soapy nuances and an overall gloomy and severe mood. Massively dusty as well. A hyeratic, noble and proud fougère on a stone-dry tobacco and leather base. Elegant and refined, with just a hint of a nasty and animalic heart – Histoires de Parfums made a "Sade" scent, but to me, Knize is actually much more "sadian": the blend of austerity and animality gives that exact feel to me. Deep and just gorgeous.

9/10
30th April, 2014

Mon Cuir by Ramon Monegal

Nice citrus-orange-bergamot opening on a leather-vanilla accord, with a bold sticky and animalic heart and quite a massive powdery feel around. The initial overall smell is quite classic, that type of gloomy animalic chypre like in Jicky, with uncomparable less depth, strenght, complexity – in short, more of a "tribute" (feeling nice today; otherwise, I'd say "parody"). Everything sounds more linear, simple, synthetic and toned down. But, it is still somehow decent. The worst part is the evolution, after a while you basically get an annoying and cloying smell of sticky warm soup, a sort of hot rubbery accord which manages to be at the same time dull and irritating. The drydown is basically a safraleine-like note (synthetic rubbery leather) with a resinous/vanilla feel, sweetish and flabby. The only "pro" is that both persistence and projection are rather weak.

4/10
30th April, 2014

Vanille Bourbon by Il Profumo

The opening is a cloying vanilla-aldehydes bomb, not even "gourmand", rather "your sister's car freshener". It eventually becomes a bit more gentle settling on a pleasant vanilla-talcum accord, but still lacking in any possible interest. Not bad but plain and pointless.

4,5-5/10
30th April, 2014

Signature Collection : Lux by Mona di Orio

I get the tribute to Roudnitska, this is in fact a citrusy chypre with a poudrée feeling and an animalic base, quite a classic fougère cologne. The opening is decent, a bit close to Jicky, but then again... the same random weirdness which is the signature of at least other two fragrances by Mona di Orio, occurs abruptly. A warm, odd, soft gingerbread note comes in, blending with the stale smell of a cadaveric boudoir. Still with a totally out-of-place citrus note. Then you smell like if you accidentally poured a lemonade on your dead grandma for a while, and then it's all basically gone. It must be me, but I don't get this.

4/10
29th April, 2014 (last edited: 01st May, 2014)

Naïviris by Huitième Art

A nice, honest, simple but dense iris soliflore, with a powdery/talcum feel but really spacious, light, clean and linear. It is basically a pure iris smell on a slightly darker and bolder base with a peculiar flavour, somehow between a fruity-sticky note and an animalic-rubbery note like a more vibrant safraleine smell, however really subtle – like a microscopic pulsating heart you reach with a microscope. Although I am not a fan of Pierre Guillaume I have to admit this is quite well made, it's minimal but well-balanced, kind of whispered but cute – the name fits it well, it's a "naif iris". It gets more and more ligher as minutes pass, ending on a talcum/white musks clean drydown: only for "skin scents" lovers. A bit too delicate and pale, but as long as you can smell it (hurry up!), it's nice.

6,5/10
29th April, 2014

Canali Style by Canali

Cedar (teak? Oh, sure!), citrus, white musks, woody-aromatic-green notes with a fresh twist and a PU leather base glued together with a substantial dose of synthetic aromachemicals. Crisp, safe and clean like a plastic binder. If you are in a hotel and you forgot your scents at home and find a complimentary bottle of this in the closet, then it can nicely serve you as a decent scent for dinner, as it's super safe and discreet – actually also quite pleasant. At least it is perfectly worth its cost.

5/10
29th April, 2014

Panasch by WienerBlut

A nice surprise from a brand I never heard of before receiving a sample. The opening is nice, linear, definitely in that minimal/contemporary field like CdG. But, it is still much aromatic and slightly more gentle, not that "martial": cedar and Iso E create an evocative, ascetic and even a bit harsh "raw" wood feel, while there is also a soft and mellow base counterpart – like amber, and most of all, cashmeran to me, which has a peculiar aromatic silky/musky feel, really warm and cozy, somehow dusty. Balsamic notes and patchouli, both "minimal" but clear. Finally also both the violet and the pepper notes are there, the violet helps in reinforcing the aromatic, lively side, while pepper provides a really nice and subtle "tasty" heart. Kind of a rubbery feel, like palisander, which is a "side-smell" many woods have. Now, despite all the notes and accords I've listed, overall it is a really linear and dense scent, all is tightly "packed" together and wrapped in a really peculiar half-natural/half-synthetic blend. It almost seems the concept is to make naturals smell "synthetic", which is nice and interesting. And above all, the scent itself smells really good, the initial "pencil sharpener" smell turns into a woody/balsamic accord with a subtle earthy-patchouli base and a pleasant salty note (not iodine, just salty), ending in a really elegant and aromatic cozy drydown. Not a masterpiece as it smells a bit trendy to be honest, but it's well-made and also nor dull neither generic.

7,5-8/10
29th April, 2014

Jabu by Mona di Orio

A sprinkle of citrus, creamy ylang, tonka/vanillin, a heavy dose of aldehydes which give a salty/metallic feeling. I get the concept, which as for another couple of Orio scents, kind of works for ten minutes, then it all collapses completely and you get a weird and total random evolution – bit of a sweet bread, then sweet hot soup. I guess it is some weird result of citrus, warm flowers, ginger. When it all ends, the drydown is decent – resinous floral vanillin, but it's obviously not worth the waiting.

4/10
29th April, 2014

Cuir Mauresque by Serge Lutens

I had so high expectations about this, I was thrilled and couldn't wait for a good old Arabian, dry and dusty leather. And instead... now, I don't know if I am having an issue going on with my nose, or if this has been reformulated, but I absolutely don't get the slightest hint of leather. All I smell is a creamy, powdery, waxy chypre accord with a prominent tonka note and some buttery floral notes - like iris sometimes smells. Which then evolves towards a more balsamic/fruity direction, still on a waxy base, so with a general "richness". Quite dense and baroque, not bad (but not good either, if you ask me), even almost slightly close to L'Heure Bleue, but... cuir? Anyone?

5/10
29th April, 2014

Racine by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

A nice scent indeed. The opening is fresh and pleasant, mostly pungent spicy lemon, with a slight camphor feel at the base (some linalool feeling like in many insecticides), on a really nice, dense and quite dark base, with mossy/earthy and sweet/mellow notes of, respectively, oak moss and sandalwood (the same exact sandal note you get - enriched and amplified - in Santal Noble). And, of course, vetiver: great, thick, tasty vetiver. With a bit of white musks perhaps – something soft and mellow. So basically the axe is citrus-vetiver-oakmoss-sandalwood. A bit retrò, but not that usual, as many "eau de colognes" tend to me more classic and light, avoiding this oakmoss/wood dark, organic and earthy vibe. With some floral notes also, so it's quite domesticated and elegant - earthy, but not "raw". This composition reminded me a lot of some Parfum d'Empire fragrances, or better, the way round – probably MPeG is one of the ispirations of Msr. Corticchiato. An elegant personality with a vibrant natural twist. The drydown has a persistent citral/verbena note which I don't enjoy much, but apart from that, it's really nice.

7,5/10
29th April, 2014

Azemour les Orangers by Parfum d'Empire

... and another win from Parfum d'Empire. The opening is perfect: orange, neroli, orange blossoms, a light and mossy oakmoss/patchouli base which will eventually emerge better once the scent "dries" from the fresh opening notes. White musks with a hint of wet hay - that creamy, earthy/powdery light roundness which is perhaps the most recognisable among Corticchiato's favourite signature accords. Dense, elegant resinous-vanillin notes, with a perfect flavor of dusty tobacco and soft sandalwood, a touch of fruit which feels like apricot or peach, bright floral notes, and even a hint of aniseed – this somehow makes this close to Eau de Gloire. A soft suede note on the base – another trait d'union with many other Parfum d'Empire's fragrances. The scent is filled so well and so perfectly you wish it lasts forever. Sweet, elegant, graceful and pleasant – that kind of invigorating, soothing perfumery pleasure which today seems a bit "demodé" sometimes – I would just say "classic" craft at its best. Great drydown with a vibrant earthy-herbaceous feel, always with a warm base accord. Flawless class.

8/10
28th April, 2014 (last edited: 09th November, 2014)

Let Me Play The Lion by LesNez

Got an unexpected sample of this and forgot about it, then I grabbed it to throw it in my "to sample" box, but I noticed the name of Isabelle Doyen on it and said "well, it can't be bad", as I am a huge fan of her work with Annick Goutal. So I gave it a try, and... surprise! I like this. Quite a lot. It is something miles away from what I was used to associate to her name, this is a minimal synthetic scent – basically Iso E, cedarwood, aldehydes and ambroxan, some CdG or nu_be kind of fragrance. As alfarom suggests below, it has quite the smell of pencils being sharpened. And it's really super nice, well-executed (as you may notice from my "surprise", I am usually not that fan of this type of scents). I would have never thought Doyen had such a talent for this. It has the same exact incense note you can smell it at least two Goutal scents – Encens Flamboyant and Ambre Fetiche. But here it's obviously different – it's linear, geometrical, "harshly" simple, ascetical, meditative. And it has an unexplicable, really fascinating slight but palpable "vibe", which is not even a proper accord or smell, it's just a kind of a dense "cloud" feel, a sensation to be wrapped in a incense, vapourish, transparent but still materic foggy cloud – which paradoxically, you feel more clearly once you move your wrist away (or wherever you applied this). It's like if the concept and the heart of the scent lies in its sillage - in its absence. And that's why I named the aldehyde, notably the C12 - it gives the same feeling to me; you smell a "feeling" you get exactly moving you nose away from it, not towards it. Increasing balsamic vibe all over with a slight anise aroma, and it also gets darker and sharper as minutes pass. At some point, and just for a while, it gets unexplicably quite close to L'homme sage by Divine, which has quite nothing to do with this as regards of composition but still, quite the same overal smell (this may due to a temporary coincidence of the evolution stages of cedar, balsam, perhaps some kind of "fruity coffee beans" aroma together... or whatever, it's similar!). The drydown is pleasantly more "normal", balsamic, woody, ambery still with an incense vibe. Cool and distinctive!

8/10
28th April, 2014 (last edited: 29th April, 2014)

Cruel Gardenia by Guerlain

Nice and pleasant opening of rose and gardenia, with a fruity pomegranate note and an almost bittersweet touch like rose pepper or pimiento, a substantial dose of aldehydes, a nice green leafy feel and a earthy patchouli note (I know half of this it's not listed: still this is what I smell). Soft and cozy base of sweet sandalwood and white musks, soft and cozy as a freshly-cleaned super soft pillow – so nor creamy neither powdery. A bright, golden, elegant but lively and vibrant fragrance, quite multi-faceted – it has a slight spicy-saffron note, a super slight boozy hint, with herbaceous/natural and floral echoes, and just the right amount of synthetic which gives it the "right" shape, roundness, overall transparency and contemporaneity. Besides, it eventually emerges a peculiar and really interesting salty note which smells just like the skin of a woman wearing a scent under the sun, so there is "the scent" but also a hint of salty skin-sweat (I don't mean "bad-smelling" sweat, just that tiny translucent layer you have after having spent an afternoon under the sun - or... doing some other equally hot activities, if you get what I mean). Which gives a really sensual, materic skin-like shape to this. Good persistence and projection. Not a masterpiece given we're talking about Guerlain, but really good!

7,5-8/10
28th April, 2014 (last edited: 29th April, 2014)

Series 2: Ende/Anfang End/Beginning by Damir Doma by Six Scents Parfums

Linear and bold opening of cedar, ginger and vetiver, dry and woody, on a base of tobacco/leather or some really dark and dry woods. I also smell cloves and lavender (eugenol/linalool) and kind of a global rubbery feel a bit synthetic but acceptable here given the "mood". Nice salty note. Overall I must say I quite like this, it's martial, dark, dry, really simple, with the same kind of linearity you may find in some CdG fragrances, just a bit more cheap. I also get a metallic aerial vibe which gives the scent an "avantgarde" transparency, and a base dusty feel with a sweet note and a earthy vibe (I think of patchouli). Same kind of ballardian's themes you can find in CdG Sugi – "nature and architecture". Nice, and my cheap intellectualism aside, safe and wearable. Also the packaging is nice.

7/10
28th April, 2014

L'Heure Bleue Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

This is one of the very few "classics" I still do not get to appreciate much. A soapy, beautiful, classic chypre stuffed with great powdery iris, a medicinal cloves/eugenol side, and... that vanillin/almond/marzipan feel I really can not stand. I suspect it's from fava tonka and vanillin but I am not sure as it's more complex and more cloying. It is just too much for me. I feel the similarities with Mitsouko, which instead is far more aerial, multifaceted, uncomparably more beautiful. I admit I have a "problem" with this kind of almondy/sweet aromas, and I am perhaps over-sensitive about them, so sometimes I feel "too much of it" when there's perhaps just a close hint of them... but still, I feel a ton of this sticky, thick and cloying accord from the very beginning. And I just can not help - I can not stand it. For me this accord just ruins this blend so bad, it makes it suffocating and smell "wrong" in a way I can not explain better. A sort of old-smelling, half gourmand, half medicinal feel. I don't know how to situate it exactly – I just know I feel this palpable prominent accord I do not like, despite all the efforts I make to focus on other aspects (which are great, indeed) of this scent. Luckily there's Mitsouko and Jicky!

5/10
28th April, 2014

Carnation by Mona di Orio

The opening is good: a bold, balanced, rich chypre, with an intriguing base comprising a leather/smoky note (the styrax, I guess) and an almost rancid fruity-rose note. A gloomy chypre with a powdery-vanilla violet side which smells almost like iris, nothin new but still quite good and elegant. Then, well, in a matter of seconds it all goes completely wrong, like when you are on the highway driving peacefully in a mellow, fast traffic flow and a car suddendly loses control and goes zig-zagging before smashing a pole. It all crashes down in a sort of weird, aldehydated, warm (not in a good way) soup-gingerbread accord with a completely random smell of tennis shoes. You still feel something nice (some floral notes a and some vanillin) but it's like if you drop a cake on the floor, you can still save something, but obviously it's gone wrong. However if you keep re-applying it every 10 minutes you can still get the nice side.

4/10
27th April, 2014

Ungaro pour L'Homme II by Ungaro

The opening is powerful, a splash of lavender, bergamot, rose, balsamic-ambery notes, musks and a shady, sticky, thick but light civet note which will eventually come in shape better later on. Now it's just a gloomy ghost wandering around. Basically a lavender fougère slightly more floral and powdery than usual, with a pungent mentholated feel (geranium) and an aromatic, soft woods base, with perhaps some tobacco notes or something equally dusty and dark. Then the blend gets drier and darker, with the leather/animalic heart which emerges with crescent strenght... but stopping too soon. I must notice in fact that I don't get the civet that much, I feel it's there but it's not "that" prominent as you may expect. You feel it emerging, but then it just "stops" there halfway, like a suspicious cat you're trying to lure which eventually does not trust you enough to come closer. For instance there is lot more lavender for me – that is why I consider it quite dark, but uncomparably less dark than other real "animalic" fougères. It's an eau de cologne with a prominent lavender/talcum heart and just a base of leather/animalic notes. The leather note by the way is really nice, vibrant and dense (but again, light). Overall a good scent with good quality components and a light persistence, not that memorable and not the masterpiece I expected.

6,5-7/10
27th April, 2014